There’s magic in the air at this gorgeous, faithfully restored Clarissa convent (built in 1621), which combines the soul, mystery, and colonial charm of Cartagena with the luxury, amenities, and flawless service that you would expect of a luxury resort hotel. A lush courtyard complete with a Botero sculpture, an inviting heated pool (in the former orchard), a heavenly spa, and an elegant restaurant, the Sofitel excels when it comes to sybaritic pleasures. Standard rooms are bright, crisp, and equipped with Nespresso machines, Bose stereos, and iPod docks. Most have balconies that overlook the pool, but you will have to splash out on a suite to revel in the character, space, and colonial features of one of Cartagena’s top boutique hotels. A skeleton uncovered from the crypt—now home to the atmospheric bar, El Coro—inspired Márquez’s magical realist tale, Of Love and Other Demons. If you are traveling with children, this is by far the best upscale choice.

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